Having only moved to Rotorua two years ago from a lifestyle block, the Rotorua Hospice team has become Tom and Avis’ family. “Hospice is our communication, our neighbour, our family” Avis comments as they reflect on the support Hospice has provided.
Tom was diagnosed with prostrate cancer initially and went into remission for around a year. In 2012, he was diagnosed again, this time with multiple myloma cancer. Despite going into remission once more, the cancer has come back and is terminal. He has been with Rotorua Hospice for around 12 months.
His wife Avis helps to care for him at their home in Rotorua. “I feel as if we’re not on our own…I struggle to put it into words. I only know how it feels…. We couldn’t do it without them (Rotorua Hospice)”.
“It’s a great thing for patients and their family. It’s not just the patients. It’s the whole family they involve”. Tom chips in “Even you ay Mackie” looking at Mack, one of two family dogs sitting at their feet.
Avis tells us that despite their doctor being based in Katikati, the Rotorua Hospice nurses are able to make recommendations to the doctor about medications that might help with pain or nausea for Tom. The subscription is ready to be picked up the next day at the Redwoods Centre. Whilst this may seem a small action to some, it makes the greatest difference to this couple.
“You (Hospice) ring every Monday to check up and see how we’re doing… it’s a more personal communication…it’s the personal touch”.
Tom and Avis chose the beautiful image of the kowhai to represent themselves – its one from their back garden. Coincidentally and unbeknownst to them at the time, it also happens to be the national symbol for Hospice. Historically, the kowhai flower and bark was used in traditional Māori medicine.